Wild Africa Trek Guide Spots Giraffe Aella For First Time

Wild Africa Trek Guide Spots Giraffe Aella For First Time

Scott Terrell    by Scott Terrell, DVM, DACVP, Director of Animal & Science Operations, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts

It has been a whole week since Aella (pronounced eye-la), a two-month-old Masai giraffe joined her mom Lily on the Kilimanjaro Safaris savanna for the first time, and she’s drawing lots of “ooohhs” and “ahhhs” from guests who spot her during their safari adventure.

Aella is a welcome addition to the herd, and her arrival marks another success for our dedicated animal care team. Aella’s parents – Lily and George – were chosen to breed through the Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and ensures responsible breeding of threatened and endangered species.

Our cast members are equally as excited as our guests when seeing Aella – in fact, some even get emotional because they develop strong bonds with the animals they care for and the ones they see each day.

One great example is Kelly Waldo, a Wild Africa Trek excursion guide. Each day, Kelly takes guests on an exclusive tour of the savanna, sharing fun facts about the animals and how Disney is helping save them in the wild. She also takes lots of photos – both of the animals and the Wild Africa Trek guests. One of her favorite subjects is Lily, the first giraffe she could identify from the patterns on her chest.

Kelly was there the first day Aella started exploring the savanna, and it was a moment she will never forget.